1. What is your working title of your book? Pyewackett of Salem.
2. Where did the idea come from for the book? The idea came from a visit to the Friendship here in Salem, MA. The friendship is a replica of a 18th-century Indiaman, a cargo ship that traveled to the far east. We were asking about the various imported spices and how they kept ever-present rats from spoiling the cargo. Although the sailors themselves sometimes would hunt rats with clubs to keep them in check, there was also a long tradition of having a ship's cat. These cats lived on board and not helped to preserve the cargo by hunting rats, but their presence also improved the morale of the crew.
British warships had ship's cats until 1977.
3. What genre does your book fall under? Children's Literature.
4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Well the main character is a cat, so I have no idea. For the role of Thomas the cabin boy, probably someone like young British actor Thomas Sangster. It would be nice to have known character actors play the captain and the first officer.
5.What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A ship's cat eye-view of a 19th-century sailing adventure as Pyewacket, a large, intelligent cat, and his new friend, Thomas the cabin-boy take their first sea voyage to Sumatra on the cargo vessel Friendship.
6.Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
We are not represented by an agency, and are resistant to taking the self-publishing route. We submitted it to one local publisher who passed on it. It is now at a second publisher and we are waiting to see if they bite.
7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Well my wife wrote the initial draft in a couple of days, but we've been revising and refining it for about two years.
8.What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Probably Pirate Diary: The Journal of Jake Carpenter by Richard Platt (author) and illustrator Chris Riddell.
My wife and I own a particularly-large grey cat with a lot of personality, and it was not a great leap to imagine him as a ship's cat.M y wife came up with the idea of Pyewackett's first voyage coinciding with that of a young cabin boy named Thomas on the Friendship's trip to Sumatra in 1802.
10.What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?
The book has a local-history connection. Although the voyages to the far east are well documented, the cat's-eye view of the trip will hopefully as a new angle.